Knights of Jerusalem The Crusading Order of Hospitallers 1100-1565
Author: David Nicole.
Publisher : Osprey

Book Review.

David Nicole had authored two volumes for the Warrior Series [Knights Hospitaller (1) 1100-1306 & Knights Hospitaller  (2) 1306-1565] which together cover the same period. How does the new book compare, and how much ground is duplicated?

The first thing you notice is that compared to the two paperback volumes, it has a totally different look. This is not just due to the hardback binding. It is as if this book has moved into the "luxury book" category - without any sacrifice to historic detail - as in the new book there is a wealth of detail.

In examining all three books together I devised a table of illustrations;

Type of Illustration

Old Books 1&2

New Book

A. Black and White/Greyscale Illustrations by a modern Artist.



B. Colour Illustrations by a modern Artist.

Full page

part page

C. Colour Photographs (inc. copies of old illuminations etc)


(16 full page)

D. Greyscale Photographs (inc. copies of old illuminations etc)

mainly small

part page

It is clear to see that whilst all three volumes are well illustrated, the pictures in the new book are for the main part, larger, more lavish. Also there is a shift away from illustrations by a modern artist, to historic reproductions, either of illuminations, paintings, or photographs. The book is more colourful! The new illustrations provide a wealth of historic detail, and improve the very look and feel of the book.
Click link for purchase details

Contact details for Osprey:
Osprey Direct, P.O. Box 140, Wellingborough,
Northamptonshire NN8 2FA, UK.
01933 443863

For the details of the Warror Series Volumes
click either book below.



The Text:
The first two volumes appear in the Warrior Series, and therefore the emphasis is on the Knights as Warriors, but all aspects of the Knights are examined. There will be much ground that is covered in common between the Warrior books and the new book - they cover much the same subject - however, both Warrior volumes are only 64 pages each - 128 pages in total. In the new Hardback volume, the 222 pages allows for a fuller treatment, and having read the text, I can vouch for the excellent research that has gone into the book. It is not just the depth, but new facts emerge, not covered in the briefer treatments. Even having read many tomes by other publishers, I have found a few details not covered elsewhere. Also and perhaps important the book is readable.

The description by the publisher is well justified: "Accompanied with glorious colour pictures this book gives us an insight into the fascinating lives of the courageous men who were members of an Order that tended the sick, played an integral role in the Crusades against Islam."

To provide an idea of the contents, the following subject headings are on the contents page; Chronology, Introduction, A Brief History of the Hospitallers, Organization and Command Structure, Recruitment, Discipline, Training and Daily Life, Dressing and Arming the Brethren, The Hospitallers at War, Sickness, Death and Remembrance, Epilogue: Later History and Legacy, Appendices, Bibliography, Glossary.

It is a great book - well presented and a useful source book for the history of the Order in the period surveyed. For the low price of £20, it is excellent value! Also it will make an excellent present, either to receive, or to give to others.

The Reverend Michael Foster.
Rector Chase Benefice, Salisbury Diocese, Church of England.
Historian to the Order of Knights Hospitaller, Russian Grand Priory.

Created 14th July 2008
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